Sunday, May 18, 2008

Growing Big!

Time just keeps on flying by. I'm not sure where it goes all the time, but it seems to move at an amazing speed. The past couple weeks have been busy with various appointments (again), visiting, society, babysitting, just life in general and my favourite cooking, cleaning and more cleaning! :)
As time flies ... so does our little boy, who learned to crawl a couple weeks ago. In the past couple weeks he's developed at a fast pace, picking up on lots of "firsts". He started crawling while we were on holidays, a few days later he learned how to pull himself up in the playpen and walk around the edges. I finally stopped being so skimpy on the water and moved him from the baby tub to the big tub, which he loves. Gave him his first haircut also, although it hardly classified as a haircut, just layered the back a bit so he didn't have these little wings sticking out behind his ears all the time. He discovered how to clap and wave hi and bye ... we did not teach him either of these ... guess the further you get down the totem pole the less you focus on these things with your kids, but he still figured it out. He has also started attempting to ride the firetruck. The pressure is on to keep up with his big sister, who was an expert by 10 months old. She had a bit of an advantage tho, the car she rode was lower to the ground. Matthew's feet cannot quite touch fully on the firetruck, so he just enjoys rides from his sisters who will gladly pushing him around. Now if he'd just add eating to the list of his recent accomplishments we'd all be so much happier.

Over the past few weeks we've been muddling through what to do with Matthew. He has stabilized again and it's now been two weeks since his last "out-of-the-blue" vomit. He has had various appointments and at the most recent one his ears were still red, but had improved some, so we do not have him on antibiotics anymore but are hoping they will clear on their own (given I still have an earache from the cold I had a couple weeks ago, I guess he's doing okay then). Our biggest concern continues to remain the fact that he refuses to eat. After he recuperated from the flu-bug he had a few weeks ago he ate well for almost a week, but then quickly reverted back to his old habit of shaking his head, pushing the food away or clamping his mouth shut. Our second biggest concern is that he is unhappy. All his new accomplishments have helped slightly to keep him entertained a bit longer ... or just give me more ways to "rotate" what he is doing to keep him happy. But usually he only lasts for a short period at whatever he is doing before he starts complaining.

We have been working hard to try and get him on a bit of schedule for his bottle feedings, but this too remains a challenge. He cries for a bottle, gets excited to see it, then drinks a couple ounces and pushes it away. We were going through a vicious cycle all day long like this. As I began to look at his charts I realized that he was getting plenty to drink as he always drinks well when he's sleepy (before naps and bedtime, as well as the middle of the night), these bottles alone give him pretty much 25oz per day. This helped me to work on being firmer during his wake time to make sure he'd gone for a good period of time before he was allowed a bottle again. This means a bit more work for me of catering to him to help him make these longer stretches. Unfortunately I still run stuck when we get him 4 hours and give him a bottle and he drinks 2 ozs and pushes it away ... now what do I do 1/2 later when he's miserable and crying to drink again? We are left wondering why it is he drinks better when he's asleep, less alert, or simply not paying attention to what he is doing.

We seen a Naturopath also, since we had heard they would do allergy testing before the age of one (which an Allergist will not). They even said they would when I called to make the appointment, but when I went for the actual appointment they said they wouldn't do it as he hasn't been exposed enough. Grrrr!!! Their advised was to keep him off of corn, wheat, rice, barley, oats, milk, soy, etc until he's two years of old and old enough to let us know how these effect him when he eats them. Well thanks, but I don't think so!! He currently does not get any of these and we're still having issues ... so altho they could be a concern, they are not the answer. The only one that might be possible is corn as we have learned that his formula is corn-based.

Back at the Pediatricians we decided to get an appointment to see the Allergist. By time we actually get in Matthew will be close to a year old and hopefully they will agree to do some testing or give us some guidances on how to proceed. Until we see them the Pediatrician has recommended we do not try to reintroduce any of the foods we have out of his diet right now. We have also decided to put Matthew on Zantac, a reflux medication. We are sort of just pulling straws out of a hat here. He doesn't really exhibit any strong signs of reflux. There are two reason we figure it's worth a shot. It has been noted that he has excessive gas in his stomach and that he does not burp after feedings and we seldom here him fart ... so he could simply be bloated and gassed up, causing discomfort and making him uninterested in food. The other reason is that he often has this little cough/sputter/clearing throat/sometimes gagging thing going on when he's drinking his bottle. I used to assume it was just because he's dosy when he drinks and forgot what he was suppose to be doing ... but he's doing it a bit more lately, so who knows. It is easier to put a child on medication and see if it helps then to do run the tests to see if they have reflux (especially because none of them are a guarantee to give you an answer). Reflux medication is suppose to be considered pretty harmless and according to our doc has less side effects and is safer then using tylenol or ibprophen.

The being said after only 2 1/2 days on the medication we've had to stop it. For the past two days Matthew has had fevers. This could be yet another virus, his ears acting up, or a medication side effect. So seeing as there is no urgency for him to be on the medication we have stopped giving it to him to help us figure out the cause of these fevers. Hopefully we make it through the weekend and don't have to bring him in to emerg, I do not take kindly to spending my Victoria Day at the hospital again ... brings back to many difficult memories.

So there goes another long blog about our boy. Rebecca asked tonight "Is there something wrong with boys mom?" Such innocent questions that come from children.

The rest of the family is fairing well. Rob is already thick into his night course, with his mid-term already next week. He's enjoying the course so far. This one being a religious course on Paul. He says he may not agree with all they are teaching, but it's good to get a different view. We're sure looking forward to June when we no longer have to hear the words "I have to study!"

We're attempting to get back into our old tradition of having Family-Time on Saturday afternoons, when we take time to enjoy free outtings, usually meaning nature walks and seeing the beauty of God's creation. Last Saturday we went for a walk on the Dundas Valley Trails. Yesterday we had hoped to go to Felker's Falls (a trip down memory lane), but since it was raining off and on and Matthew was under the weather we opt to go for our walk on Monday and instead watch a movie ... only for it to end up be nice for the afternoon ... ah well ... now I'm sure it will rain Monday!! :)

Learning to ride the firetruck

A walk at Dundas Valley Conservation


Anonymous said...

Hi steph:

Have you ever heard of Gemoscan? I heard about it on the news about half a year ago--they are in toronto and have a new way to identify allergies, and other things

They get you in quite quickly--you do your blood work here in hamilton, and when they have the results, you meet them in their office in toronto. Hope this helps!
Karen Mans

Kevin & Amy said...

As I was reading, I was going to ask if you considered reflux meds, but then went on to read that you had gone that route already... I hope you made it through the weekend without a trip to emerg! Have you tried Losec, or is the Zantac stronger? I'm sorry that you are having to struggle so much with his health still!

But I'm glad that he continues to develop well in other areas like the crawling and walking. I had to laugh when I read that he taught himself to clap - I often feel that way about Danielle, that she is having to teach herself everything! Oh well, such is life:)

Steph said...

Thanks Karen for the information, I had not heard of that before. I probably would have gone straight to that instead of the naturopath if I was aware of it.

I looked at the webpage and will think on what I want to do, I would also have to look into whether they would test Matthew, as everyone seems to steer away from children. We just received our Allergist appointment today and it's not until Aug 6, but I did call and request he be added to the cancellation list. I will have to see how my patience works. First we have to get him settled from his current cold/ear infection/whatever it is. Then I need to give the reflux meds a good try before I go off spending money on another tests that could be a dead end road.

I will definitely keep this in mind, it's good to know this option is available. Although we get frustrated and wish we knew he had allergies, at the same time he's not eating any of the foods that commonly causes allergies (except his corn-based formula which is our biggest question/concern) ... and since he doesn't eat much it really doesn't matter that I hardly have any options for feeding him. Although it would be nice just to be able to give him a Baby Mum-Mum or a cookie or something ... and sometimes I think that if I had more options maybe he'd show more interest, but I'm guessing that's just wishful thinking.

Steph said...


We made it through the weekend ... altho not without questioning several times if we should go to Emerge. We were back at the Ped's Tuesday morning but didn't get any clear answers. His ears don't look any worse, except the one she couldn't see as clearly as she would like so it's still possible it was more infected. His throat was only a bit red. But she put him on antibiotics since he'd been running some high fevers for 4 days by then. We've almost gone 24hours without a fever now, so it seems to be doing something.

Losec is the cadillac of reflux meds. Zantac is also a very good option. I'm not sure if one would be more effect then the other or what the exact difference is, altho I do know Losec would be more expensive. He offered to prescribe Losec, but given the pain of getting it in liquid form I opted to try Zantac as he figured it would be just as effective.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steph,
I read your blog alot, hope you don't mind as I don't know you - well I feel like I do after reading your blog over the past year or so. I am actually Alice Swarts' sister from Perth, Australia - get the connection? First I'd like to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Having health issues is not nice at all - trying to find answers is even harder! May God give these answers soon so that life can settle down for you all! I have just one little question and maybe you have already been down that road - does Matthew have enlarged tonsils at all? That could affect his drinking/eating and cause ear infections. Maybe I'm totally off course but I would love to help you guys! Our youngest child, a girl called Tiarne is about 2 months older than Matthew and for a while she 'refused' to eat - well she would only eat sweet stuff like apple sauce or the tins of baby fruit. Does Matthew like them? We ended up doing apple sauce and slowly adding tiny bits of other dinner to the spoon and she eventually ate. The other thing we still do is give her something to play with to 'distract' her - it seems to work. I may not have helped at all but .... just thought I'd try!
Take care and God bless!
Regards, Sandra Schoof

Steph said...

Hi Sandra

Thanks for dropping us a note, always neat to find out who our lurkers are. You'll have to say "Hi" to Alice for me. I'm afraid we've become a bit unfaithful in staying in touch over the last couple years as both of our lives took on extra stress and business.

As I read your comment I did one of those "agghhhh" *smack forhead* things. I seen the doc on Tuesday and that was one of the things I was SUPPOSE to ask about ... but apparently if Steph forgets to write it down, Steph simply forgets!! Didn't even cross my mind again until I read your comment. Our niece just had her tonsils removed because they were extremely large and they figure this is why she was not eating good or sleeping well. So this made me think that I should have Matthew's checked ... but duh, I forgot, and we don't have any upcoming appointments (altho that seems to change rather quickly around here).

Matthew doesn't show a preference to any foods (except maybe slightly to sweet potatoes). One day he eats the next day he doesn't ... no rhyme or reason behind it. One of the reasons I'd really like to see what allergies he has is so I can be a bit more creative on what I give him, hoping that maybe some more tasty stuff will help. I think we'll have to make a trip down to the health food store ... but even there it is hard to find foods without rice, wheat, barley, oats, soy, corn, etc. I may have to break down and buy some of James' food which you can't get at the local health food stores (ouch that will hurt - only $20 for a pkg of spagetti).

We've definitely done the distraction thing (around the sippy cup or play spoon, peek-a-boo, holding and talking to him, feeding him while he's playing, etc) ... an art we learned with James and are just putting into practice again with Matthew. But in the end his mouth is quicker then our hand. Occasionally a new distration works, but he catches on mighty quickly.

Thanks for your ideas Sandra ... and I've now written down on my chart to "check tonsils" - hopefully I'll be more on the ball next visit.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steph,
I certainly will say hi to Alice for you. I know what it's like having to write things down! I always have notes laying around - I like to call it "freeing up my brain space!" At least you don't have to think, "now what have I forgotten??!!"

About tonsils - I asked because our eldest, Chloe (9) had lots of ear/throat infections and once the tonsils/grommets op was done we haven't had it since.

Hope the food issue gets sorted soon though. Good to hear that Matthew is making his milestones though - at least you know that he is doing the right things there.

Totally unrelated - you know what always spins me out? The fact that across the other side of the world there are people I'm 'chatting' to who know each other. Alice Buist and I were best of friends in high school - she left in year 9, some 18 years ago and we stay in touch still now - although I haven't been very faithful in the last year or so. You know her too don't you? And Clarice and Joyce? They help you don't they? I don't know them that well but played netball with Clarice and met Joyce a few times many years ago.

Anyway, must go and do some housework. Take care!

Regards, Sandra

Steph said...


Bit of a delayed response here, so I don't know if you'll ever come across this, but since I don't have your e-mail address this is the only place I can. I suppose I could ask Alice for it.

Yes I do know Alice and Clarice and Joyce. Alice used to go to Hamilton church when we first moved here, but has since moved out to a nice place in the country (that I finally seen for the first time this past week). So since they moved I really haven't seen or talked to her all that much, but now she's started a Fun Soccer evening which is at their house, so maybe we'll see each other a bit more.

Joyce and Clarice both helped us out with James. Joyce as his nurse and Clarice came in as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) for the last few weeks before he ended up in hospital again. We still see Joyce frequently and Clarice occasionally, but since she was working we didn't see her all that often anymore (obviously less now that she's back in Australia for a few months).

So yes it's a small world, made even smaller by todays technology.

I'm hoping Matthew's ear thing is a passing thing. I have had my tonsil and adnoids removed also for that same reason, but they do not remove them very easily anymore. Our more recent theory of his ears being his eating problem is just that ... a Theory. We have no idea what his ears looked like from Jan. to April so for all we know our theory could be totally wrong because they were fine. I know they would never agree to take his tonsils out at this age if it was part of the problem, or if his ears continue to be a problem. First they would put tubes in his ears. They did check his tonsils and she said they looked okay - a grade 2 - grade 1 being the best, and I think 3 the worst. So they could be a bit smaller but they are not very large or in the way.

Well that's enough babble for today ... my housework calls as well ... as it always seems too